My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In this beautiful novel, Chevalier uses her lyrical prose to meld a story of historical fictional with the modern-day tale of two women wrestling with both national identity and womanhood. The way Chevalier winds the two stories together works well, but Ella's story is clearly the stronger of the two narratives, as it is richer with "relatable" material such as "What does it mean to live as an American wife in France?" and "What happens when you are tempted to cheat on the husband you wanted to have a baby with?" and "Where can one really feel 'at home?'"
Girl with a Pearl Earring debuted Chevalier's lyrical style, and The Virgin Blue offers no disappointments on its heels; in fact, it is a refreshment to feel the difference in tones as Ella and Isabella's stories shift back and forth between one another. The ability to accomplish this shift is the mark of a polished author, and one who will likely be able to produce several more finished works in the future.